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Recalling Dive Bar, Downtown Crossing, 1982

Please bear with me but I'm trying to remember the name of a place from a trip to Boston to see the Red Sox 25 years ago... any assistance much appreciated.

We were wandering around downtown, visited Filene's and a few other places in Downtown Crossing, when we decided to get some lunch. I recall wandering up a slight hill in what looked like an alley to an old-style bar -- long and narrow, with the bar on the left, a few tables crowded near the front and along the other side, dark and old-looking. It might have had an Irish-type name but don't hold me to that. It didn't look promising but we persevered and found a table among the crowd. I recall having what was a surprisingly good meal and a fun time.

Can anyone help me with the name of the place? Any chance it is still around?

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  1. Could it have been Hank's? on the short street that lead to the Orpheum..a true dive..can't speak for the food..not unusual to see 1 or more patrons passed out atthe bar or tables

    No longer there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: 9lives

      This bar is almost certainly Hank's. A lot of folks who worked at Filene's and Jordan's used to go there. It was busy at 7 P.M.

    2. The Province Pub? If so, it was definitely a dive. The only time I went there, some guy with a beard down to his stomach looked up from the bar the second we walked in, yelled "HEY!" then got up and started chasing us, right out of the bar. We ran all the way to the end of the block when we heard him yell, "HEY--ya got a match?"

      Ahhh, memories....

      4 Replies
        1. re: 9lives

          I believe so, though it has been a long time, so my brain is a bit foggy as to where exactly it was on Province Street.

          1. re: hiddenboston

            The Hub Pub used to be Friar Tuck's in the 80's I believe. Not sure if it also had an incarnation as Province.

            1. re: joestrummer

              I remember Friar Tuck's, and the OP's description fits the bill (long bar to the left), there was also seating upstairs too...they had a solid burger back in the day, nothing to right home about, but not garbage.

      1. You're just remembering it now? Must've been quite an evening.

        1. Penn's Pub on Bromfield Street - halfway up on the left (facing Tremont Street)???

          5 Replies
          1. re: Small Plates

            Was thr bar on the left there? And, it was previously Bromfield Tavern.

            1. re: trufflehound

              I was also thinking Penn's Pub but I thought I remembered the bar being on the right.

            2. re: Small Plates

              I think Penn's Pub is it. Is it still in business?

              Thanks for the info.

              1. re: Greg B

                I'd bet the bar you are talking about is the Littlest Bar, which unfortunately is no longer.

                1. re: kate used to be 50

                  Couldn't have been the Littlest.

                  No food and while narrow, I don't think anyone would have called it long.

            3. Could it have been the infamous Blue Sands?

              4 Replies
              1. re: phonelady

                the blue sands was really, really great. that place was so cheap, one of the waitresses there once snarled at me for tipping her too much.

                1. re: phonelady

                  a moment of silence is in order whenever the blue sands name is invoked. whoever is responsible for the demise of the blue sands will spend eternity as an unpaid lavatory attendant in my afterlife.

                  1. re: phonelady

                    the blue sands was the best - back in the mid-80s bourbon and gingers for $1 - I think they put 1 ice cube in it. Also had Styrofoam cups for dinks to go on your way to a Celtics or Bruins game

                    My foggy memory tells me the bar was on the right when you walked/stumbled in

                  2. PJ Foleys?

                    Everything fits but the "had a suprisingly good meal there" part...

                    1. I would have to say Hanks Pub. If you walked up a flight of steps, the bar was a l shaped bar starting at the stairs. Hanks had great food, it was owned by the Connick family. It was actually a connected bar and many of the patrons were well known by the police in Boston. It closed in 2000s after a raid. Great place from a time gone by! I knew it well

                      1. What about the space that is the Barracuda Tavern on Bosworth Street? Next to the Marliave.
                        If you are coming from the Marliave, you walk up that staircase, and down the alley, there it is on the left.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                          Barracuda Tavern is the old Hank's; mentioned upthread.

                          1. re: 9lives

                            I'm confused, because the street with the Orpheum is not Bosworth Street. It's Hamilton Place, down a block.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              I was mistaken in my post of 8/9/07 as to the location re Orpheum.

                              Marliave and Barracuda (fka Hank's) are on Bosworth.

                              Hamilton Pl, and the Orpheum are 2 blocks South and parallel..Bromfield between them.

                              Thx for the excuse to get a pastrami at Sam La Grassa's..:)

                              1. re: 9lives

                                Cool. So what's the deal with Barracuda? How does that place stay open?

                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  No insight as to what's going on there. Stopped in once for a beer. Fun looking place..sort of a FL Keys type atmosphere.

                                  I think I recall a few pos comments on CH from others re lunch.

                                    1. re: Allstonian

                                      Ah, the trusty search function - thanks!

                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                        Barracuda does have a nice bottled beer selection, but I can't speak for the food.

                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                    The new place opened 2 years ago, the liquor license was in litigation for some time, the locals are starting to come back, but most now go to the Pub on the corner of Bosworth and Tremont. The food is good at the B ( old hanks) but the crowds a little yuppy not Townie

                                    1. re: Riderx139

                                      I had lunch there once, and while it wasn't awful, I am not intending to go back (too many other better places to eat to bother)

                          2. Am I nuts, or did OP already decide it was called Penn's Pub?

                            This must be what Sidebar used to be.

                            1. How about the littlest bar on Bromfield St

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Tucker23

                                Would you call the Littlest "long"?

                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                  The Littlest Bar was already suggested and dismissed (because it wasn't long and didn't serve food) in 2007, when this thread first started: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4295...

                                  At that time, Greg B, the person who first posted this question, agreed that the suggestion that it was probably Penn's Pub, on Bromfield Street: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4295...

                              2. The Littlist bar was on the right and not down an ally.

                                Sounds like Lock Ober to me.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                  The description does sound like Locke-Ober's but to describe it at any point in its time as a "dive bar" is to insult a venerable Old Lady.

                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                    The Locke-Ober Cafe had to be the only dive bar in town to insist that gentlemen wear jackets, tailored slacks and leather shoes, and turned women away until the early 1970s.


                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      And, those carefully dressed women had to eat in the private dining rooms at one time.


                                      1. re: BostonZest

                                        And sometimes were shuttled through the secret passageways all throughout the building. I was fascinated the first time I was given a tour... to be a fly on the wall during the very early days...

                                        1. re: Small Plates

                                          I miss Yvonne's and that secret door at the back of the bar...

                                          1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                            That's the "new" Locke-Ober. When I was a boy/young man, none of that side of the staircase existed.

                                            1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                              I'm talking about the upstairs passageways.

                                              1. re: Small Plates

                                                THAT was a wonderful rabbit warren of rooms. I used to run around in them(when empty) while my parents ate downstairs.

                                    2. Sounds like Friar Tucks to me. It was a great little bar not far from the Parker House that served bar type food but was mainly a place to drink

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Cheffrank

                                        I said the same at the top of the post, and do so concurr